Thoughts about Black Kos, (with a poll)
Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez
After reading and responding to many of the detailed and thoughtful comments, in "How did you begin to unlearn racism?" on Sunday—some from people I've never seen comments from before, and others who I know are regular members or readers of Black Kos—it got me to thinking. We have an excellent resource right here at Daily Kos, for unlearning racism—a Black Kos community in which a majority of readers and members are white (even though assumptions are often made that they are black—just 'cause they are here) who have a real interest in interacting at Daily Kos with black folks and other people of color, and staying on top of news, and views from the black diaspora.
This comment from Black Kos community member joedemocrat touched me, and I thank him for making it.
Hi Denise and everyone (9+ / 0-)
I'll answer your question honestly as I can....
When I came to Daily Kos, I could recognize overt racism, but not the subtle kind. I had never heard the term white privilege or other terms. Also, I did not know how it was embedded or about issues like police brutality, and mass incarceration, etc..
I grew up in a small town in the midwest that was all white. I had high school teachers who were bothered by the idea of interracial marriage. I knew people who were furious there was an organization called NAACP thinking it a reverse form of racism.
People may say they aren't racist. But they support racist policies and racist politicians and political parties.
My mother didn't have those beliefs, so it wasn't taught at home. She was born in the early 1930's in Germany. She knew both poverty and war. She was a strong Democrat -
as strong as they come.
There were WWII Veterans who didn't like us. I was made fun of in school.
Also, unfortunately I had a verbally abusive father.
This has made me want to stick up for the underdog and the oppressed. That probably gave me an open mind to learn.
I feel I am slower to pick up on non-overt racism than you or others who participate in Black Kos are. I try to follow. If you or other Black Kos regulars are bothered by something and I don't understand, instead of thinking you overreacted I try to listen and learn.
We are all who we are politically due to our life experiences. Those experiences will be different. We can all relate best to ourselves and those like us. But sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself "What was it like to walk in these people's shoes?" And one reason this country is in so much trouble is very few people can do that. Oppression seems normalized in many ways. Anytime a group gets any kind of privileged status, they become disconnected from those who don't.
I think it is important to build bridges too because we are always stronger together than as individuals. And there are so many problems we need to work together.
In that effort to build bridges, and to look at where we've been and where we are today, we'd like to hear from you regulars but also those who "lurk" and read but may not comment.
It's been several years since I posted "A question for Kossaks (with poll)," which was followed by Black Kos, Tuesday's Chile: roll call and lurker come-out edition, which garnered 615 comments and 127 recommends. I decided it is time to do it again.
We have two new editors, Joan Mar and ChitownKev, (yay!) and new readers too.
First a little history:
For those of you who are not Daily Kos "old timers," Black Kos, was founded by dopper0189, on Tue Jan 02, 2007, as an open thread, which evolved into Black Kos: weekly round up, and then became Black Kos: Week in review. On Fri Mar 21, 2008 dopper published "My last Black Kos week in review diary," and Black Kos as a UID was born.
As you can see from reading this diary, Black Kos is "going community" on you! Starting next week Black Kos will be a group effort, Robinswing, Sephius1, Terrypinder, and myself will collaborate on writing "Black Kos week in review" diaries. The new home starting next week will be at Black Kos. Thank you Markos and Meteor Blades for giving us permission to do so (and understanding this isn't a "sockpuppet" but a community effort). So in the future please hotlist "Black Kos". Thank you everyone who read and helped make this diary possible, I will still be around as dopper0189, but the week in review will now be done by the group ID Black Kos. Once again thank you everyone!
Black Kos currently has 765 followers, and the Black Kos community
, was founded in 2011.
Black Kos has gone through some amazing highs over time, and our most recommended diary was ***Update: Statement of Opposition to Racist Labels Used by Kossacks to Criticize President Obama, with 2524 comments, 983 recommends, posted on April 16, 2013, followed immediately by Continued: Statement of Opposition to Racist Labels Used by Kossacks to Criticize President Obama, because the first diary became almost impossible to open.
We've been through meta, and pie wars, ups and downs, and each year end dopper0189 (David-who we affectionately call "Chief") publishes a Black Kos Year in Review.
We've covered the earthquake in Haiti, news out of Africa, and the ongoing protests and reactions to the killings of black folks here at home, as well as electoral politics, history, science, medicine, the environment, music, art, poetry, film and television.
Now we would like to hear from you—our readers.
Please take the poll at the bottom of the diary, and we hope some of you will de-lurk to say hello. We'd like to hear from regular members too, about when and why you joined.
One of the things we learned in the last poll was that many people don't comment because they feel they "don't want to intrude" in a "black space," not realizing that this is an integrated space with more white than black members.
If you would like an invitation to join, let us know in comments. You can also check the heart next to Black Kos up top to follow us.
I just want to add yet another thank-you to our Chief—for having sustained this series for so long, to previous editors, and most of all to our readers and members.
See you on the porch.